There's no such thing as a free lunch - right? Wrong - at least if the Redhill Community Centre has anything to do with it.
The centre has been serving up free meals every Tuesday for more than a year.
Spaghetti bolognese, macaroni cheese, chips, chop suey, fried rice, pumpkin soup and curried sausages have all made it on the menu, as well as delectable desserts like ambrosia, custard, bread-and-butter pudding and icecream.
A wide range of people from the community line up each week including families, retired people and those just passing through. It's free and open to all.
An average of 50 people pull up a chair each week but centre manager Sharon Hooson says there have been a few loaves and fishes moments, including one where 100 people turned up.
"We really marvelled at how everybody got fed - there was still some left over," she says.
Most of the food comes from the Salvation Army food bank in Clevedon Rd and the Papakura Wesleyan church, which runs the centre, tops up the meals out of its own pocket.
"One week it could cost us $40, another only $10. It just depends what we've got," Ms Hooson says. "Sometimes that's a step of faith."
Lunches are co-ordinated by Poko Heremaia and cooked up by volunteers from the church and community.
Ms Hooson says the centre couldn't do it without those people - but it does get something out of the lunch.
"It just creates fellowship - we've had our socks blessed off," she says. "Providing a meal is the bonus at the end of it."
Ms Hooson says for those who can afford it, gold coin donations are gratefully accepted as they enable the lunches to continue.
Donations of dry foods like pasta, rice, tea, coffee and sugar will always be welcome too - just pop in to the centre during the week between 8.30am and 3pm.
The Redhill Community Centre's free lunch is held every Tuesday during the school term, from 11.30am till 12.30pm, at 163 Dominion Rd, Papakura.
Call 297 2040.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you think it's right for dairies to sell legal highs?